Monday, November 30, 2020

The Titles of the Holy Spirit


Titles and Names of the Holy Spirit: 

  • Breath of the Almighty
    (Job 33:4)

  • Comforter
    (John 14:16,26; 15:26)

  • Eternal Spirit
    (Hebrews 9:14)

  • Free Spirit
    (Psalms 51:12)

  • God
    (Acts 5:3,4)

  • Good Spirit
    (Nehemiah 9:20; Psalms 143:10)

  • Holy Spirit
    (Psalms 51:11; Luke 11:13; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30)

  • Lord, The
    (2 Thessalonians 3:5)

  • Power of the Highest
    (Luke 1:35)

  • Spirit, The
    (Matthew 4:1; John 3:6; 1 Timothy 4:1)

  • Spirit of the Lord God
    (Isaiah 61:1)

  • Spirit of the Lord
    (Isaiah 11:2; Acts 5:9)

  • Spirit of God
    (Genesis 1:2; 1 Corinthians 2:11; Job 33:4)

  • Spirit of the Father
    (Matthew 10:20)

  • Spirit of Christ
    (Romans 8:9; 1 Peter 1:11)

  • Spirit of the Son
    (Galatians 4:6)

  • Spirit of life
    (Romans 8:2; Revelation 11:11)

  • Spirit of grace
    (Zechariah 12:10; Hebrews 10:29)

  • Spirit of prophecy
    (Revelation 19:10)

  • Spirit of adoption
    (Romans 8:15)

  • Spirit of wisdom
    (Isaiah 11:2; Ephesians 1:17)

  • Spirit of counsel
    (Isaiah 11:2)

  • Spirit of might
    (Isaiah 11:2)

  • Spirit of understanding
    (Isaiah 11:2)

  • Spirit of knowledge
    (Isaiah 11:2)

  • Spirit of the fear of the Lord
    (Isaiah 11:2)

  • Spirit of truth
    (John 14:17; 15:26)

  • Spirit of holiness
    (Romans 1:4)

  • Spirit of revelation
    (Ephesians 1:17)

  • Spirit of judgment
    (Isaiah 4:4; 28:6)

  • Spirit of burning
    (Isaiah 4:4)

  • Spirit of glory
    (1 Peter 4:14)

  • Seven Spirits of God
    (Revelation 1:4)

http://bible.christiansunite.com/

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Come and I will make you fishers of men.

"Jesus said to them [Simon Peter and Andrew], “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4: 19).

Monday 30th November 2020, First Week of Advent is the feast of St Andrew the Apostle, brother of Simon Peter. (+ 60). Martyred in Greece circa 60 AD. Patron saint of Greece, Russia and Scotland.

Andrew is my Evangelist par excellence. He hears the Gospel. He believes in it. Immediately he goes to share this treasure with the first person he meets who happens to be his brother Simon Peter. How do we respond like Andrew and become committed and enthusiastic evangelists? There are two necessary steps:

#1. Formation or Training: Spending time with Jesus in prayer and His word. This enables you to become like Jesus. Before you can start acting like Jesus, you must spend time listening to Him and watching His every move.

#2. Practicum: The student teacher or nurse needs to ground the theory she learned in the classroom in the real world. This is the Practicum.

The core mission of the Church is to evangelize. Pope St Paul VI writes that the Church exists in order to evangelize. This is a profound statement. Where is your place in this scheme? In the first Reading we hear:

"For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?  And how can people preach unless they are sent? (Romans 10: 13 - 15).

How can people hear of a new product unless there is a salesman or advertising? Friend, Jesus invites you to be the sales person. You can do this through word of mouth, text messaging, emails and sharing social media Catholic Blogs.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Wake up from sleep. Christ is here.

"Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come." (Mark 13: 33).

Sunday 29th November 2020, First Sunday of Advent.

At last we are here. It is Advent. The season of waiting and preparation. Here is an Advent Scripture and rallying cry:

“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (Ephesians 5: 14).

In order to be fully awake and take full advantage of all the blessings that God has prepared for us this Advent, we need an Advent Plan. I had a plan for Advent for many years with one exception. The new pastor in the parish said: "You don't need to fast or do anything special. Just say a little more prayer and enjoy yourself." I took his advice and had a tepid Christmas. After that one year, I make sure I have an Advent Plan every year. Below is my tentative Advent 2020 Plan. I revise the plan a couple of times during the four weeks of Advent.

Grace sought:
Lord prepare my heart to welcome Jesus at Christmas.

1.  Review the commitment every day.
2.  Tuesday Mass - Grace of a good Advent and Christmas Seasons.
3. No movies Mon to Sat.
4. No news /media: Monday, Wednesday, Friday:
5.  No sugar: Mon to Sat.
6. No meat: Mon, Wed, Fri.
7. No lemon tea.
8. Yard work twice during Advent.

"Lord, strengthen the wills of your people to be more active in doing good works, and so gain from your loving-kindness more abundant healing. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, November 27, 2020

Remember I am coming soon.

"Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21: 36).

Saturday 28th November 2020, 34th Week in Ordinary Time and the last day in the Liturgical Year.

This is what the Lord, the Yes and the Amen is saying to the churches in the last day of this Liturgical Year.

#1. Do not become sluggish with low energy with Christmas shopping, parties and silly worries and distractions that mark this season.
#2. Pray and pray and pray all the time. Pray everywhere and pray for everything. Your prayers will keep you vigilant and alert.
#3. Not even a single individual on earth will be spared of these tribulations. It will come without warning like a thief in the night.

Yesterday, we heard Jesus tell us that: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." (Luke 21: 33). We showed four reasons to prove that so far the words of Jesus have not passed away. The word that Jesus is speaking to the churches today will not pass away. Respond to this word with faith and gratitude.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, November 26, 2020

My words will never pass away.

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." (Luke 21: 33).

Friday 27th November 2020, 34th Week in Ordinary Time.

So far, the words of Jesus have not passed away after 2000 years. How do we prove this?
#1 Preachers still preach this word day and night in churches, on TV, Radio and Blogs.
#2 Missionaries leave their countries every day to bring this word to people who have not heard this word before.
#3 People search constantly on the Internet for this word, making the Bible one of the most searched key word.
#4 Printing presses all over the world keep rolling out millions of copies of the Bible.

Friends, do you consider this phenomenon an accident? Can you find a parallel for this in history?

Consider this question:
If Jesus Christ could be so absolutely correct in His prediction about the iteration and durability of His word, what else could He be correct about? Other prophecies of Jesus Christ:
#a. I am surely coming back.
#b. I am with you always.
#c. The gates of hell shall try very hard but cannot prevail against my Church.
#d. My Kingdom is universal. It is also everlasting.
#e. No eye has seen, no ear has heard of the eternal plan I have for you who believe in Me and follow Me.

"Be alert; stand firm in the faith; be valiant and strong, and the God of peace will be with you." (1 Corinthians 16:13)

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thanksgiving and the Marriage Feast of the Lamb.

"But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” (Luke 21: 28).

Thursday 26th November 2020, 34th Week in Ordinary Time is Thanksgiving Day in America.

The first Reading and the Gospel message today from the universal lectionary are grim messages. They deal with the last days. They may seem unpalatable for Thanksgiving celebrations but they are tonic and nourishment for the soul. Why? Because the Bible warns by example and narrative that it is during wining and dining that disaster strikes.

Which would you prefer? To be called to the wedding feast of the Lamb or sit down before a table piled high with roasted turkey, deserts and wine?

The message of the End Times whether from the Prophet Daniel, Jesus or John in the Book of Revelation is the easiest Scripture to understand. It is concise and straightforward:
ARE YOU READY TO GO?

How to be ready and fired up to go in a moment's notice:

#1 Pray all the time.
#2 Pray everywhere.
#3 Pray about everything.

To prayer add daily nourishment from the word of God. Do not be tired of doing good to your neighbor.

For a list of good works mandated by the Church, click the link below:

https://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/11/works-of-mercy.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Feast of the Patron Saint of Lawyers, St Catherine of Alexandria.

"Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute." (Luke 21: 14 - 15).

Wednesday 25th November 2020, 34th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Catherine of Alexandria. (+ 310). Virgin and Martyr. African. What can we say about Catherine or what can I say about Catherine? When I got to know St Catherine a little bit, I added her to the list of my patron saints.

Catherine was well educated and articulate.  No surprise because she was from the upper class of society in Alexandria, one of the foremost center of learning and culture at that time. She was courageous and fearless. She defended the faith before Emperor Maxentius. The Emperor was taken aback at the erudition and courage of the young girl. He flew into a rage and condemned Catherine to death. Catherine is the patron saint of philosophers, lawyers and preachers.

Where does the power, eloquence, wisdom of St Catherine of Alexandria come from? We don't have to look far. See the key Scripture in today's Liturgy:
"Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute." (Luke 21: 14 - 15). We see the same power and wisdom working in Peter and John, Stephen and Paul in Acts of the Apostles.

You can be the next Catherine if you let the word of God nourish you daily. If you trust in Jesus to lead you to your purpose in life. If you accept His unconditional love for you and embrace His gracious will for you.

Here is something I learned about Catherine today:
Before St Catherine was executed, she promised to obtain favors for all those who seek her intercession on personal problems. This reminds us of St Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower who promised to be a powerful intercessor in Heaven for any person who seeks her help.

"Even if you have to die, says the Lord, keep faithful, and I will give you the crown of life." (Revelation 2: 10).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, November 23, 2020

The Feast of St Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions, martyrs.

"Even if you have to die, says the Lord, keep faithful, and I will give you the crown of life." (Revelation 2: 10).

Tuesday 24th November 2020, 34th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions martyrs.

St Andrew, a Vietnamese priest was martyred in 1839 along with 117 others, 96 of whom were Vietnamese. The rest were foreign missionaries. Has any other religion the same experience of martyrdom in modern history as the Christian faith?  Why do Christians accept martyrdom? Christians know that death is not the end of their life. We believe in the Resurrection. Jesus Christ has promised. His word is true.

Our key Scripture from the Alleluia Verse encourages us not to fear those who kill the body and can do no more. "Even if you have to die, says the Lord, keep faithful, and I will give you the crown of life." (Revelation 2: 10).

What are the common obstacles to Christians to faithful walk with Jesus and persevering in the face of great trials and persecution?

#1 Lack of a solid prayer life.
#2 A life of too much ease and pleasure.
#3 Compromise with sin.

These conditions are great obstacles to a life of perseverance which looks forward to the joys of Heaven and Eternal life.

"Be faithful and I will give you the crown of life."

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The lessons of the Widow's Mite.

 Jesus said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest;  for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” (Luke 21: 3 - 4). 

Monday 23rd November 2020, 34th Week in Ordinary Time. The Church affirms and honors three saints today:
St Clement 1 (+ 99) Pope and Martyr. Italian. Clement was the third Pope after St Peter and is famous in history for his letter to the Corinthian Church where he asserted the universal jurisdiction of the Pope. Clement was martyred under Emperor Trajan. 

St Columban (545 - 615). Abbot. Irish. Columban founded monasteries in France and Italy. 

St Miguel Augustin Pro (1891 - 1927). Mexican. Priest of the Society of Jesus and Martyr during the fierce Mexican persecution of the Church in the 1920s.

Our Gospel for today is the Widow's Mite contribution. Jesus was in the Temple during the Liturgy when He "saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins."

This Gospel has many lessons for us:
#1 The widow was able to give her all because she had experienced God's faithful provisions.
#2. It is not the largeness of the gift that counts but what the gift costs you.
#3 The poor contribute more to the upkeep of the Church than the rich.
#4 "Give and there will be gifts for you." You can never outdo God in generosity.
#5 Wherever your treasure is, there lies your heart.
#6. Insecurity for tomorrow is the curse of the rich who are ignorant of the biblical blessings of giving.

The annual Thanksgiving is a few days away. Read some Scriptures on the blessings of giving and rendering thanks for the blessings you have received from God.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com 

Hail Jesus! King of the Universe.

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him." (Matthew 25: 31 - 32).

Sunday 22 November 2020, 34th Week in Ordinary Time is the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. It is also the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year.

What are we celebrating today? We celebrate the truth that Jesus is truly Lord and King. When you read the Gospel, this is not obvious. The humble kingship of Jesus is different from the pompous kingship of Herod.

Earthly kings are notorious for their love of pomp, splendor, majestic palaces, pride and cruelty.
Jesus is the Good Shepherd King. Jesus is the gentle King. He promised that His yoke is light and easy. Think of how the King Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, the humblest of animals.

What are the attributes of the kingdom of Christ? It is global, eternal and humble. Our King reigns from the Cross. It was on the Cross that Jesus Christ vanquished the kingdom of Satan.

Let us hail our Lord and King Jesus!

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, November 21, 2020

The Feast of the Presentation of Mary.

"That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;  and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” (Luke 20: 37 - 38).

Saturday 21st November 2020, 33rd Week in Ordinary is the feast of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple.

What are we celebrating in this feast?  This feast celebrates an event in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary that is not recorded in the Scriptures. It is nonetheless an ancient feast of the Church. This feast remembers the occasion when Mary's parents, Joachim and Anne presented the little girl in the Temple to be educated by priests.

The Church affirms that along with Sacred Scriptures, Sacred Tradition and the authoritative Magisterium are the sources of the truth we subscribe to in the Church. The Church has this ancient sacred maxim:
"Lex credendi, lex orandi, lex vivendi." It means that the rule of prayer is the rule of faith and the rule of living. As you pray, so you believe. As you believe, so you live.

Some Protestant groups believe unfortunately that the Church is wrong in honoring Mary because they say she is dead and remains dead. Catholics honor dead people they believe. But Jesus Himself knocked out the unbiblical assertion in today's Gospel:
"That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;  and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” (Luke 20: 37 - 38).

The Holy Spirit who is promised to lead the Church into the fullness of the truth of everything that Jesus taught and did will not allow the Church to teach and practice idolatry for over 2000 years.

Mary is full of grace. She is the Mother of the Son and our Mother.
Mother of Mercy, pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, November 19, 2020

You have made my House a den of thieves.

"Then Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things,  saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves." (Luke 19 - 45 - 46).

Friday 20th November 2020, 33rd Week in Ordinary Time.

Our short Gospel for today comes from Luke 19: 45 - 48. It is the only place in the Gospels where Jesus appeared visibly very angry. Why was Jesus mad at what was going on in the Temple?

Is it possible that the Church could be made into a den of robbers? Let us consider a few scenarios:

#1 Why did the Church venture into real estate business in London and who knows where else?
#2 Why does the Church use Insurance as a means of security instead of fire tried promises of God?
#3 Why are some clergy attracted to worldly lifestyle?
#4 Why is the SeekFirst Promise in Matthew 6: 33, key Scripture on security not affirmed more often?
#5 Why does the Church appear to turn a blind eye on the Commandment: "Keep holy the Lord's Day!"?

The Prophet Malachi foresaw the degradation of the sacred ministers of the Temple and prophesied:

"For he will be like a refiner’s fire,
like fullers’ lye. He will sit refining and purifying silver, and he will purify the Levites, refining them like gold or silver, that they may bring offerings to the Lord in righteousness." (Malachi 3: 2 - 3).

Let us continue to lift up the Church and the clergy to the mercy of God.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Is this the hour of our visitation?

“If this day you only knew what makes for peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes... And Jesus wept over it [Jerusalem] " (Luke 19: 42, 41).

Thursday 19th November 2020, 33rd Week in Ordinary Time.

Is Jesus weeping over America?  Does America recognize that today is her time of visitation? What is it that makes for peace?

#1 Stop abortion.
#2 Stop death penalty.
#3 Stop racism.
#4 Stop molestation of refugees.
#5 Stop discrimination.

Stop these evils and the Peace of Christ will return to these shores. America will become again the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Jesus is weeping.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The Feast of the Educator, St Rose Philippine Duchesne.

"I chose you from the world
to go out and bear fruit,
fruit that will last, says the Lord." (John 15: 16).

Wednesday 18th November 2020, 33rd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Rose Philippine Duchesne. (1769 - 1852). Virgin. French. The French Revolution disrupted her religious formation. She had to wait for 11 years to join a new Congregation, The Society of the Sacred Heart. At the age of 49, St Rose undertook her missionary journey to America. She founded schools to educate girls.

Our key Scripture is from the Alleluia Verse in today's Liturgy. Jesus chose St Rose Philippine Duchesne from the world to go into the world and bear fruit that will last. Rose arrived in America from France and labored relentlessly in the mission field and bore plenty of fruits that are still enduring. Many of us are familiar with the Duchesne Academy in many places in the USA training smart young women to serve the Church and society.

Have you ever considered the truth that you too are chosen, called and anointed for a special purpose? St Rose discovered her purpose in life almost at the age of 50. Abraham discovered his at 75 and Moses at 84. An African proverb says that when a child wakes up from sleep, she can say "Good morning!" Because that is the beginning of her day.
Wake up and embrace your purpose in life.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, November 16, 2020

Zacchaeus, I want to spend this night in your house.

“Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy.  (Luke 19: 5 - 6).

Tuesday 17th November 2020, 33rd Week in Ordinary Time is also the feast of St Elizabeth of Hungary. (1207 - 1231) Religious. Born Hungarian Princess. Married a German Prince. In her short life of only 23 years, Elizabeth had four children and then became a Franciscan Tertiary after the death of her husband. She spent the rest of her life bringing comfort to the poor, the sick and the aged.

Zacchaeus must have made a wave in the early Christian community because of the story of how he encountered Jesus for the first time. Because of his short stature, he climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus because there was a huge crowd surrounding Jesus. Jesus, touched by this humbling gesture reciprocated with warm friendly encouragement. “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.”

Who is Zacchaeus? A very wealthy tax collector. Probably living in a large estate with servants, horses and carriages. Be that as it may, Zacchaeus was despised and shunned in his community because he worked as a tax collector for the resented Roman government. Yet this man had such intense desire to meet Jesus and humbled himself to accomplish this goal.

Who is the Zacchaeus of our day? They may be:
* The abortion doctor and nurse.
* The young homeless pregnant teenage girl.
* The lady forced into prostitution in order to survive.
* The drug dealer from the ghetto.
* The refugee or immigrant scrapping a living at a night job nobody wants.

Like Zacchaeus, all the above are considered fringe elements, undesirables, etc. But Jesus who comes to seek the lost knows each one of them by name and knows where they are hiding.
St Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church says that the Lord Jesus has finished His work on earth and turned over to us to complete what needs to be done. Jesus is saying: Go find these people. You are now my feet and hands, my eyes and ears. Through corporal and spiritual works of mercy, the Church points out to us how to engage this mission.

If you want to explore the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, click on the link below:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/11/works-of-mercy.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Works of Mercy


CORPORAL WORKS OF MERCY:
1. Feed the hungry
2. Give drink to the thirsty
3. Clothe the naked
4. Shelter the homeless
5. Visit the sick
6. Visit the imprisoned
7. Bury the dead

SPIRITUAL WORKS OF MERCY:
1. Instruct the ignorant
2. Counsel the doubtful
3. Admonish sinners
4. Bear wrongs patiently
5. Forgive offences willingly
6. Comfort the afflicted
7. Pray for the living and the dead

SeekFirstcommunity.com 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

What can I do for you, man?

"Jesus asked him [Blind man] “What do you want me to do for you?” (Luke 18: 41).

Monday 16th November 2020, 33rd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Margaret of Scotland (1046 - 1093). Born Hungarian and married to King Malcolm of Scotland. Mother of 8 children who raised her children in the fear of the Lord. She is noted especially for her love for the poor. Margaret is the Patroness of Scotland.

Today is also the feast of St Gertrude. (1256 - 1301). Virgin. German. Known as Gertrude the Great, she was a respected scholar and mystic. Over 300 years before St Margaret Mary Alacoque, Gertrude, a mystic like Margaret Mary introduced the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Pope Benedict XVI, says that St Gertrude “shows us that the heart of a happy life, of a true life, is friendship with the Lord Jesus.”

In the Gospel Reading of today, we read of the interesting encounter of Jesus with the Blind man [named Bartimaeus by the Gospel of Mark). We see here the power of persistent prayer in action. Bartimaeus had prayed and waited for the opportunity to meet Jesus. When it happened suddenly, he was prepared. Lesson: Fortune favors the prepared.

Bartimaeus was shouting on top of his voice: "Son of David, have pity on me." He could not be stopped by the disciples of Jesus. Jesus asked him to come to Him. Lesson: Persistent prayer gets the attention of God. How can I help you, Jesus asked the Blind man.
"He replied, “Lord, please let me see.”  Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.”  He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God. When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God." (Luke 18: 41 - 43). Bartimaeus became a friend and companion of Jesus.

This is not a parable but a life event in the ministry of Jesus. Jesus teaches through words (narrative/discourse) and action.
"Man does not live on bread alone. There is life for him in every word that comes from the mouth of God." The word of God nourishes the hunger in our hearts for new life.

What do you desire most in your heart? Desire makes a man, teaches St Ignatius Loyola.
Guard as treasure the utmost/greatest desire of your life. Nourish it with prayer and the word of God. Be always prepared to jump up as Bartimaeus for you do not know when Jesus will be passing by.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Use your talents or lose them.

"For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away." (Matthew 25: 29).

Sunday 15th November, 33rd Week in Ordinary Time.

Our key Scripture is from the Parable of the Talents. Here are the main points: The principal in the story distributed money for investment to three of his chief executives according to their talent. Then he left on a long journey. When he returned home, he demanded each executive to show return on investment. Two of the three showed profits on their investments and were rewarded with promotions. The third man buried his money and was severely rebuked.

The message in this parable is easy to discern. God bestowed every human being with gifts at birth. How do you use the time, talent and treasure that God has given to you?

The law of the spirit implies continuous growth. Use your muscles and they become stronger. Do not use them at all, they grow weak and weaker.

But how do we exercise our time, talent and treasure? Consider these list from the Church:

CORPORAL WORKS OF MERCY:
1. Feed the hungry
2. Give drink to the thirsty
3. Clothe the naked
4. Shelter the homeless
5. Visit the sick
6. Visit the imprisoned
7. Bury the dead

SPIRITUAL WORKS OF MERCY:
1. Instruct the ignorant
2. Counsel the doubtful
3. Admonish sinners
4. Bear wrongs patiently
5. Forgive offences willingly
6. Comfort the afflicted
7. Pray for the living and the dead

"For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away."

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, November 13, 2020

Pray with Trust, Confidence and Persistence.

"Then Jesus told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary." (Luke 18: 1).

Saturday 14th November 2020, 32nd Week in Ordinary Time.

The Lord Jesus teaches us to be persistent in prayer. When you come to our Heavenly Father to ask for your needs: restoration of health, family peace, a new job, husband or wife, how do you go about it? "Abba Father, I need a wife. This is Sunday the 15th of November. Kindly provide by Sunday the 22nd of this month." Jesus our Lord and Teacher says that there is a better way. A wife is a considerable investment in life, perhaps one of the hugest. You should pray always for it without becoming weary. Jesus promises that your faith shown by your persistence will be rewarded.

A fragile widow in the Parable of the Persistent Widow in our Gospel Reading today was able to overcome a ruthless corrupt judge through the power of persistent prayer.

Prayer is one of the greatest gift bestowed on the Christian. It is like God's own special cell phone with all His numbers handed to you free of charge. Jesus teaches that Prayer is a vital necessity. St Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church teaches that he who prays is already saved. He who does not pray is lost.

Consider this maxim on Prayer a rule of life:
+ Pray always.
+ Pray everywhere.
+ Pray about everything.

Ask your Heavenly Father boldly for big things in accordance with His gracious will. Pray with trust and confidence that God will fulfill His promises to you.

The Bible teaches that the just man lives by faith. He also lives by every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4: 4). Therefore nourish your life constantly with the word of God.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, November 12, 2020

The Feast of St Frances Xavier Cabrini, Patroness of Immigrants.

"Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it." (Luke 17: 33).

Friday 13th November 2020, 32nd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Frances Xavier Cabrini. (1850 - 1917). Virgin. Italian. Patroness of Immigrants.

We glorify Jesus when we honor any of His saints. Each of His saints reflects an aspect of the beautiful character of Jesus as encoded in the Scriptures. What aspect of the word of God does St Frances Cabrini personify?
"Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it." (Luke 17: 33).

Before she came to the United States as a missionary to serve immigrants, Frances was terrified of water. But once she heard the call of Christ which came to her through Pope Leo XIII, she plunged into the waters and arrived at New York to start a very fruitful missionary service to immigrants in America. God in His economy of Salvation made immigration a necessity for humanity. Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Mary and Jesus were all immigrants. America is populated by immigrants. The life of the immigrant is not easy. At least in the first few years. So God gave a strict order in the Scriptures not to molest these vulnerable: widows, orphans and migrants.

Our saint for today overcame the first obstacle to her vocation: fear of drowning to serve the immigrants. She founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus to serve immigrants in schools, hospitals and parishes. Before she died in 1917, St Frances Xavier Cabrini had traversed the seas about 30 times planting missionary services to the vulnerable in many countries of the world.

Jesus Christ chose St Frances Xavier Cabrini to be a symbol of His tender care for immigrants. This is why the Church honors her today. In honoring her, we glorify Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd of all immigrants.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Feast of St Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr.

"Asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the kingdom of God is among you.” (Luke 17: 20 - 21).

Thursday 12th November 2020, 32nd Week in Ordinary Time is also the feast of St Josaphat. (1580 - 1623). Bishop and Martyr. Born in Poland, ministered and martyred in Ukraine. Josaphat spent his life working for the reconciliation and unity of the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church. He paid the supreme price for this with his life.

The Kingdom of God is among you.
What does this mean to you?
What is the Kingdom?
Where is the Kingdom?
Why the Kingdom?
How does the Kingdom operate?
Any signs of the Kingdom here and now?

One fact is absolutely certain:  Jesus spent most of His preaching and teaching ministry talking about the Kingdom. Even after His Resurrection, Acts 1 informs us that Jesus continued to speak about the Kingdom. How do we address the questions above on the identity and operations of the Kingdom?

The Kingdom is the King Jesus. Where the King is, there is His Kingdom. The Kingdom has certain similarities with earthly kingdoms. But the differences are striking.
The Kingdom of God is the reign of God in hearts and minds of people who believe in Jesus and have committed to allow Jesus to reign in their hearts and minds. The Kingdom of Mexico for example comprise all the people who live in the geographical area that is recognized as Mexico. They obey the laws of Mexico whether they like it or not. The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Mexico have officers and structures for their operations. That is where the similarities end.

The Kingdom of God is worldwide. It is eternal and indestructible. Some days ago, we saw the destruction of the Roman Empire, the mightiest in history. The Kingdom of God launched by Jesus Christ in the course of His earthly ministry would be wrapped up in His Second glorious Coming.

What does all this mean to you here and now? There are two types of people: those who are aware only of the earthly, material and fleshy kingdom. Others who belong to the the Kingdom of God whose seed is the Church. St Josaphat spent his life building up the Church, the Kingdom of God on earth which we can see and touch.

May we be inspired by the example of St Josaphat.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Feast of St Martin of Tours - Veteran Day.

"I shall raise up for myself a faithful priest who will act in accord with my heart and my mind, says the Lord." (1 Samuel 2: 35 Entrance Antiphon).

Wednesday 11th November 2020, 32nd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Martin of Tours. (316 - 397). Bishop. St Martin was born of pagan parents in modern day Hungary. 

Martin was a soldier in the imperial army of Rome. After he encountered Jesus Christ, he became a Christian and a man of peace. Today is also Veteran Day in the USA, Armistice Day in other countries. November 11  served in the past as a day of memorial of signing peace treaties.  The treaty to end World War 1 was signed on the Feast of St Martin of Tours, November 11th. Hail Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace. Happy Veterans Day!

Our key Scripture for today is taken from the Entrance Antiphon on the Feast of St Martin of Tours. The Lord made Martin a faithful priest who embraced God's will in everything. Martin founded a monastery in France and was consecrated later as the Bishop of Tours. He sent missionaries to evangelize France. France is one of the earliest Christian countries in the world and is known as the Elder Daughter of the Church.

St Martin de Tours can help us appreciate the truth that God's gracious and mysterious will is our peace and prosperity. Some people have a contrary view. This is a big lie of the Devil.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, November 09, 2020

The Feast of St Leo the Great.

"The Lord watches over the lives of the wholehearted; their inheritance lasts forever.
By the Lord are the steps of a man made firm, and he approves his way." (Psalm 37: 18, 23).

Tuesday 10th November 2020, 32nd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of a giant of our faith: St Leo the Great. (+ 461). Pope. The life of this great man reminds me of this quote from Shakespeare:  "Some men are born great. Others achieve greatness. Others have greatness thrust unto them." Leo was from a Roman aristocratic family. He was the first of three popes in the history of the Church to be called "the Great." Not by the Church but by the consensus of the faithful.

Pope Benedict XVI said that Leo's papacy "was undoubtedly one of the most important in Church history." Leo is remembered in history for many things. Two things stand out for me:
#1 Leo put his stamp on the authoritative definition of who Jesus Christ is: Jesus Christ is true God (100%) and true Man (100%).
#2 The mighty Roman Empire was collapsing right and left during the pontificate of Pope Leo. Leo persuaded Attila the Hun to turn back from the gates of Rome and Rome was spared destruction.

Our key Scripture for today is from the Responsorial Psalm 37.
Read this and see how this applies to St Leo:
"The Lord watches over the lives of the wholehearted; their inheritance lasts forever.
By the Lord are the steps of a man made firm, and he approves his way." (Psalm 37: 18, 23).
Leo's devotion to Jesus Christ and the Church was complete and wholehearted. The Lord approved of his ways and made him a high priest forever.

If you trust in the Lord and do good,
you will dwell in the land and be fed in security.
If you take delight in the Lord,
He will grant you your heart’s requests. (Cf Psalm 37).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, November 08, 2020

The Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica.

"I saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband." ( Cf Revelation 21: 2 - Entrance Antiphon).

Monday 9th November 2020, 32nd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. The Church of the Pope as the Bishop of Rome. The Lateran has been known as the "Mother and head of all churches of Rome and the world."

Why is this an important feast and why are we celebrating it?
#1 The Church is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The destiny of the Church is prophesied in the key Scripture for today: "A new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband."
#2 The Lateran Basilica is the Church of the Pope, Successor St Peter and Universal  Pastor of the flock of Jesus Christ.
#3 This feast is celebrated worldwide and makes the faithful remember these important truths of our salvation.
#4 It is God's desire to dwell with us. The physical church is a symbol of this mystery. (Cf Revelation 21: 3).

As we celebrate this feast with joy, we remember that we are the chosen and living stones that form  the eternal Temple of the Most Holy God.

Let us pray especially today for the growth of the Church, for the unity of all Christians, for many vocations to the priesthood, consecrated life, missionaries, catechists and evangelists.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, November 07, 2020

Stay Awake and Be Prepared.

"Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’  But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour." (Matthew 25: 11 - 13).

Sunday 8th November 2020, in the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time.

Our key Scripture shows how Jesus concludes the Parable of the Kingdom which compares the readiness of the Wise Virgins against the unpreparedness of the Foolish Virgins.

What is the point of the teaching of the Wise and Foolish Virgins? Is it to extol the incomparable gift of Wisdom which is the subject of the first Reading today? Wisdom is the gift that helps us to make good choices. In this parable, the Wise Virgins choose to prepare to wait for the Lord. The Foolish Virgins neglect to prepare and by default choose not to prepare.

We know this is a Parable of the Kingdom and the Bridegroom is the Lord Jesus. The whole point of the Parable is: how prepared are you to meet the Lord Jesus now?
People know they must prepare for a wedding, birth of a new baby, job interview, important overseas trip. What can be the most important preparation anyone can make? The transition into eternal life is by far the most critical preparation anyone can make. Not to know this is absurd and irresponsible. Death for most of us will be sudden and unforeseen.

How can we prepare for the sudden coming of Jesus? A good life which is built on the following plan:
#1 Daily Prayer.
#2 Daily Bible Reading.
#3. Daily Examination of your Conscience.

When we are faithful to the little things above, the Holy Spirit will show us more.

"Stay awake and stand ready,
because you do not know the hour
when the Son of Man is coming." (Matthew 24: 42, 44).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, November 06, 2020

The Secret of Contentment.

"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation." (Philippians 4: 11 - 12).

Saturday 7th November 2020, 31st Week in Ordinary Time.

How do you deal with the ups and downs of life? Health and sickness, money and broke, job and unemployed, etc. This is the subject  of the first Reading from Philippians 4: 10 - 19. Paul says that he has mastered how to deal with these circumstances and remain in contentment. If we want to be stable and happy in this world where no condition is permanent, we need to master the lesson of Paul.

In the Gospel of today from Luke 16: 9 - 15, Jesus our Teacher talks about mammon, dishonest money. For many people, when they are under severe pressure about money, health, job or bills, they are ready to embrace whatever solution could get them quickly out of their problem. But Jesus said firmly: "You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luke 16: 13). To do so is to pretend that you can work and get your pay in two different companies at the same time.

What therefore is the powerful lesson of Paul for us in our key Scripture? Know and trust that God has a loving design for our life that is called Divine Providence. Embedded in this gracious and mysterious plan of God are: winter and summer, hot and cold, good times and bad times. Some people want to alter this divine order. When they fail, they become depressed.

Paul concludes this great lesson by saying:
"In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I have the strength for everything through him [Christ] who empowers me. (Philippians 4: 12  - 13).

Trust in Divine Providence. It never fails.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Prepare an account for your stewardship.

"Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property.  He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward." (Luke 16: 1 - 2).

Friday 6th November 2020, 31st Week in Ordinary Time is also the first Friday in November.

The Church teaches us to have constantly in mind the Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. There is no escaping this truth. Our key Scripture for today deals with Judgment in accounting terms. Every steward knows that once or twice a year, he renders account of his stewardship to his master in terms of profit and loss. After our death, we will render an account of our stewardship to the Eternal and Merciful Judge, Jesus.

At our birth, we received gifts of Time, Talent and Treasure. How have you invested your gifts? What are the returns on the investments? If you show profits, you will hear  "Welcome" and be promoted to eternal life. If you do not report profits, you will hear "Depart from Me..."

This life is short. Even if you live to 90, it is still a short life especially compared to eternity. It is the duty of Religion to remind everyone of this truth. Do not put all your eggs in the one basket of money and material prosperity.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday, November 6th 2020.

November 6th, 2020 First Friday in November.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 11th month of the year 2020, we look at Promise #11.

#11. "Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced."

Promise #11 is not hard to fulfill.  Start small.  Order 20 to 50 Sacred Heart of Jesus cards from Amazon or from your local Catholic Bookstore.  Few dollars. Get the ones with the picture of the Sacred Heart in front and the Promises on the back. Give them to family, relatives and friends.  Leave some in the Church lobby.  You are already on the way as a promoter of the Sacred Heart devotion.

Remind the Lord often of these promises especially those that touch your present need. Jesus loves to be reminded of His promises.  Not that He forgets.  It is important for you to know deeply that the Lord is faithful.  Friends, this is really a question of whether you trust the promises Jesus or not.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/08/12-promises-of-sacred-heart-of-jesus.html?m=1

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Sharing the Good News: The Power of One.

"In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.” (Luke 15: 10).

Thursday 5th November 2020, 31st Week in Ordinary Time.

Our key Scripture for today teaches us the power of One. If one sinner who reconciles with God will make the angels happy, what does that teach us? One sinner is worth any investment. Politicians are convinced that One Vote counts. No good politician could afford to belittle one vote.

The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. One tiny mustard seed that grew and grew until it becomes a huge tree where birds nest.

How can we give joy to the angels and saints in Heaven through the reconciliation of one sinner? Let us imagine:
#1 Set the target of sharing the Gospel with one person a day.
#2 In 30 days, you have shared the Gospel with 30 persons.
#3 Encourage each of the 30 persons to share the Good News with one person a day and you have another 30 evangelists.
#4 In 365 days, how many happy souls have you reconciled with their heavenly Father? The number will compound in your account.

Seek first the kingdom of God and His Reconciliation, and your reward will be huge.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

The Feast of St Charles Borromeo.

"Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14: 27).

Wednesday 4th November 2020, 31st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Charles Borromeo. (1538 - 1584). Cardinal, Archbishop of the famous See of Milan, the See of St Ambrose. Borromeo was born into wealth and splendor but was not possessed by his wealth and patrimony.

Jesus concluded His teaching in the Gospel of today from Luke 14: 25 - 35 by saying: "In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple."
Some people like St Charles Borromeo are born into wealth but are detached from material things. Other people are born into poverty and become scrooges all their life. Great mystery. It profits a man nothing to own the whole world and lose his eternal soul. Here is one of the powerful sayings of St Charles Borromeo:

"Know and recall that there is no greater wealth and treasure, nothing more excellent and fruitful, than to love God and serve him, and that everything else passes like smoke and shadow."

St Charles Borromeo is the patron saint of catechists and seminarians.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, November 02, 2020

The Feast of Brother Martin de Poress, OP.

"In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness." (Philippians 2: 5 - 7).

Tuesday 3rd November 2020, 31st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Martin de Poress (1579 - 1639). Martin de Poress, OP was a Dominican lay brother of mixed races. Born in Lima, Peru of a Spanish father and a black mother. His father gave Martin a decent education and His creator, the eternal Physician, endowed Martin with immense pharmaceutical and medical skills. He deployed these gifts in the service of the poor and animals.

Martin was not disgusted with the menial tasks he was alloted: cooking, cleaning and sweeping. He fed the unwanted and the hungry that came to the monastery looking for food. He cured the sick in the infirmary. He fed animals in the backyard.

Our key Scripture says that Christ Jesus humbled Himself before His Father and became obedient and accepted to die a shameful death on the Cross. For this reason, His Father promoted and bestowed a jewel crown of the name Jesus. The Father also made Jesus the First Born among His children.

Martin de Poress highly gifted and talented humbled himself and never raised his voice or showed off his skills. He accepted the humble place given to him by his brother Dominicans and worked cheerfully in the kitchen and as a doorkeeper. Even in these humble places, he still became the salt of the earth and the light of Christ. God blessed him with miraculous powers. After his death in 1639, the power of his intercession and miraculous power made Martin a favorite patron saint in the Church. I took Martin as my Confirmation name. 

St Martin de Poress pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, November 01, 2020

The Feast of the Commemoration of the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

"They [the dead] seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace." (Wisdom 3: 2 - 3).

Monday 2nd November 2020, 31st Week in Ordinary Time is the Commemoration of all the holy souls in Purgatory.

The Church teaches from the very beginning that:
"All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven." (CCC 1030).

Where do people go to await the cleansing or purification after they take their last breath and close their eyes in death? "The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned." (CCC 1031).

The unbelievers think that the dead are lost and would decay in the ground like organic matters. They do not believe that man has a soul. Many protestant and evangelical sects believe that the dead bodies are decayed and stayed in the ground till the Resurrection. They are not sure what happens to the soul. This belief is born of churches fthat depend on Scripture alone for the full revelation of God's mysteries.

We celebrate the feast of All Souls because the Church teaches that the souls in Purgatory can benefit from our prayers. Because of this, the Church drawing from its authoritative Magisterium instituted a system of Indulgence. This is how the Church explains her teaching on Indulgence:

What is an indulgence?

"An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints." (CCC 1471).

The Book of Wisdom, our first Reading gives us the end game of Divine Providence on the Souls in Purgatory:

"Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself." (Wisdom 3: 5 - 6).

Remember the Poor Souls in Purgatory in your prayers.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, October 31, 2020

The Solemnity of All Saints, November 1st.

“Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?” (Revelation 7: 13).

Sunday 1st November 2020, 31st Week in Ordinary Time is the Solemnity of All Saints.

In the vision, the two elders asked John: “Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?” The Church celebrates this Sunday the Feast of All the Saints, the countless people who have lived heroic lives on earth and survived countless persecutions for their faith. These are the Saints we honor today. They are now in Heaven enjoying the reward that Jesus Christ promised. What is Heaven? "Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness." (CCC 1024).

The Saints tell us that our experience of Heaven begins right here and now. If you are in sanctifying grace, you experience the presence of the Blessed Trinity living in you. What does this mean? You enjoy to the extent of your capacity the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit. This is what the Saints in Heaven enjoy all the time. St Catherine of Siena says that the joy of Heaven begins here and all the way to eternity.

Jesus promises that He is glorified when we honor His saints. Communion of Saints is one of the most powerful and comforting doctrines in the Church. You can have as close friends as many of the canonized saints as possible. These friend saints take your petitions to the Prince of Saints who has promised to be favorable to their intercessions on your behalf.

We celebrated the feast of St Jude, the Apostle a few days ago. St Jude is a very popular and powerful intercessor who has followers all over the world because he is the patron saint of impossible situations. The reason St Jude has millions of followers is because millions of people have experienced his beneficial intercession. St Anthony of Padua, the Franciscan is the patron saint of of lost items. St Anthony has helped me recover a precious item. Because of this, he became one of my patron saints.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Humility is the doorway to Paradise.

"For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14: 11).

Saturday 31st October 2020, 30th Week in Ordinary Time.

Jesus is in a dinner party and the principal guests recognized Him and were observing Him to see what He would do or say. Jesus was observing their manners. The crowd justled for recognition in order to show who is who? Jesus did not pass the opportunity to teach about humility. He teaches here that humility is a prudent virtue that will serve you well in social life.

Humility is also a key spiritual virtue to possess. St Augustine says that you can enter the Kingdom of God without chastity. You can never enter Heaven without humility.

How do we acquire humility? Many books have been written on this subject. I can only say how I try to acquire this great gift. I became conscious that people consider me not just arrogant but conceited. Very well, what do I do about this?
I decided to adopt a simple method that has worked for me in other areas. Prayer. I ask Jesus to make me humble. I pray to the humble Virgin of Nazareth to obtain this gift for me. I ask a number of my patron saints who are noted especially for their humility like St Martin de Poress to intercede for me on this. I do this every day. While I cannot boast that I am now a humble man, it doesn't bother me any more if people remind me rudely of my deficiency. I was having a heated discussion with a lady at Church recently and she said that I was very proud. I told her that the Lord Jesus knows about this very well because I talk to Him about it every day.

"Behold the maid servant of the Lord." All generations continue to call the Blessed Virgin Mary blessed.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Hail the Finisher of Good Works!

"I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1: 6).

Friday 30th October 2020, 30th week in Ordinary Time.

Our key Scripture for today is a very comforting Scripture on any day you are tempted to throw up your hands and give up. All the key resources I use for my work are acting up. First I was reminded by the Lord to consider the fact that if you are too sick to attend the Sunday Mass, you are exculpated. What can you do if you desperately want to be at work but you cannot because there is no means to go. You humble yourself and offer up the situation to God. We pray to God: "Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Grant me the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."

We need to remember often that without Jesus we can do absolutely nothing. Therefore be grateful for what He allows you to do. Be happy and confident that the good work He started in you, He will complete in the fullness of time because He is the great Finisher.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

We are in spiritual warfare. Put on the full armor.

"Draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.  Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil." (Ephesians 6: 10 - 11)

Thursday 29th October 2020, 30th Week in Ordinary Time. We are in covert spiritual warfare. The first Reading today Ephesians 6: 10 - 20 should appear in the lectionary several times in the course of the year. But that is not the case.

We are constantly in spiritual warfare and Jesus promises: I Jesus promise to be your strength in proportion to the trust you place in Me.

Do you doubt the severity of the warfare? Consider a few of the great ones of this world that had been used by the Evil One and then discarded: Judas, Nero, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin. These are the high priests of Satan. The power of darkness is everywhere.  "For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens." (Ephesians 6: 12).

In another passage, St Paul elaborates on our weapon:
"For the weapons of our battle are not of flesh but are enormously powerful, capable of destroying fortresses. We destroy arguments  and every pretension raising itself against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive in obedience to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10: 4 - 5).

Our faith is our shield in this warfare for God promises that His faithful promises are our armor and protection. (Cf Psalm 91: 4).

So brothers and sisters, "Put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground." (Ephesians 6: 13).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Feast of Saints Simon and Jude.

"Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God.  When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named apostles." (Luke 6: 12 - 13).

Wednesday 28th October 2020, 30th Week in Ordinary Time is also the feast of Saints Simon and Jude who are among the 12 Apostles called by Jesus in today's Gospel. Both Apostles suffered martyrdom. St Jude is a very popular Saint. He is the patron saint of lost and impossible causes.

Jesus spent a long night of prayer and discernment before He chose the 12. Why 12 and not 9 or 13? Because Jesus was already thinking of the Church and wanted the association with the 12 tribes of Israel. But the Apostles were to be different from the 12 founding Fathers of Israel. First, they will all be drawn from the eyewitnesses who knew Jesus from His Baptism to His Ascension. Secondly, they will constitute a tight knit Apostolic College. Last but not least, there will be a system of succession for vacancies that occur as a result of death.

It is the mind of Christ, the Church He founded would be built on the foundation of Apostles and Prophets. What are the characteristics of this Church by which she can be recognized all over the world? There are four marks. As we profess every Sunday, the Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. What do these words mean?
#1 One = One faith, one Baptism, one Shepherd.
#2 Holy = The Holy Spirit that indwells the Church is the source of her holiness. The Holy Spirit continually cleanses the Bride of Christ from defilements.
#3 Catholic = Universal. Found in all the countries of the United Nations and every other place of human habitation.
#4 Apostolic = Every Bishop is directly traceable to the original 12 Apostles who were constituted in today's Gospel. Many Bishops would have their lines run through Saints Simon and Jude, our saints of today.

"Simon and Jude are the holy men
whom the Lord chose in his own perfect love; to them he gave eternal glory." (Cf Entrance Antiphon).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, October 26, 2020

You are the mustard seed.

Then Jesus said, “What is the kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it?  It is like a mustard seed that a person took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and ‘the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches." (Matthew 13: 18 - 19)

Tuesday 27th October 2020, 30th Week in Ordinary Time.

What is the mustard seed? How did the kingdom of God come into my heart? Who sowed the seed? How was it nourished? What is the state of growth of the seed? I will share my experience to illustrate the principle of the mustard seed.

The seed is the word of God. Christ Jesus is the Sower. At the point of a great need in my life, Jesus sneaked in quietly and sowed the mustard seed of His word in my heart:

“Do not fear! Stand your ground and see the victory the Lord will win for you today. For these Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again.  The Lord will fight for you; you have only to keep still.” (Exodus 14: 13 - 14).

The promise was fulfilled. I was impressed and opened my life to the Farmer. Not long after this experience, the Sower sowed what might well be the permanent seed in the garden of my heart:
"Seek First the kingdom of God and His holiness and all your needs shall be met." (Matthew 6: 33).

Jesus the Farmer watered the seed every day through prayer, the word of God, Eucharist, Penance, Spiritual Reading and Faith sharing. Through the power of grace, the mustard seed continues to grow. At first, few birds came and perched on its branches. Slowly, more birds are coming to dwell in its branches.

Brothers and sisters, you are the Mustard Seed. Do not be afraid. Trust Jesus the Farmer. He will not hurt you. He created you and knows intimately who you are, what you need and the purpose of your life on earth. His merciful love will always surround you with the most tender care.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Woman, you are set free.

“Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” (Luke 13: 12).

Monday 26th October 2020, 30th Week in Ordinary Time.

Jesus observed a crippled woman, bent over and badly deformed in the Synagogue in the course of His teaching. Who is this woman? Let us try to figure out who she is:

#1 She was not embarrassed to go to the weekly service in the Synagogue despite her sorry state.
#2  She is a woman of strong faith who believes that God is her Father and loves her deeply in spite of her handicap.
#3 She believes that in His infinite power, God can bring good out of every evil.
#4 She submitted her condition to the will of God. "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done."

Is it surprising that Jesus noticed her?  “Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.” Jesus then laid His hands on her and she was healed at once. Notice what she did next: "She glorified God."

Signs and wonders point to the arrival of the Kingdom of God. At the time Jesus was ministering, we know that many in Israel were awaiting the manifestation of the Kingdom of God. Simeon and Anna in the incident of the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple were some of the people expecting the coming of the Messiah.

How about us? The Messiah Jesus is with us. He is Emmanuel. He is truly present in the Holy Eucharist. He is present in the Blessed Sacrament in unique and very real manner. Thirdly, He is present in you and me in the Sacrament of the Present Moment. How is He working in us? Every single comfort, every mercy, every breakthrough you experience in life is from Jesus. Like the crippled woman in our Scripture today, glorify God and give Him thanks when you experience favor in your life. Do not delay in enjoying the benefits of the Emmanuel, the God who is always with you.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Do not molest the widow, orphan and immigrant.

“You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt. You shall not wrong any widow or orphan." (Exodus 22: 20).

Sunday 25th October 2020, 30th Week in Ordinary Time.

In the Gospel for this Sunday from Matthew 22: 34 - 40, the Pharisees asked Jesus which commandment is the greatest. Jesus went beyond their narrow standard in His answer:  "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22: 37 - 40).

In our key Scripture for today from Exodus 22: 20 - 26, we read of the magna carta of love of neighbor: the poor, the weak, the sick, the homeless, the hungry. All these are represented by the  immigrants, orphans and widows. God commands: Do not oppress or molest them. To oppress or molest them is to break all the laws in the Decalogue.

If we consider this law oppressive, then God reminds us: "You were once aliens residing in the land of Egypt." Right? What is the incontestable reason for pardoning someone who has offended you? You were forgiven a debt of $10 million. Can't you forgive someone who owes you $500?

Our Father in Heaven, increase our faith, hope and love. Make us love the immigrants, the orphans and widows as You command us,
so that we may merit what you promise.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, October 23, 2020

The Feast of St Anthony Mary Claret

“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?  By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!" (Luke 13: 2 - 3).

Saturday 24th October 2020, 29th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Anthony Mary Claret (1807 - 1870). Spanish missionary and Archbishop of Santiago, Cuba. He founded the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Claretians).

St Anthony Mary Claret was no stranger to the type of cruelty Pilate perpetrated on the Jews in the Gospel Reading for today's Liturgy. The Jews reported to Jesus how Pontius Pilate massacred the Jews inside the Temple. They expected great sympathy from Jesus but He said:

“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?  By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!  Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?  By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!” (Luke 13: 2 - 5).

Jesus took the opportunity of this encounter with the Jews to teach a necessary lesson to them and to us: We must always be READY to die any moment.  Death can come suddenly without warning like a thief in the night.

How do we prepare ourselves for sudden and unexpected death?
#1 Constant prayer is the best and perhaps the only means of vigilance. St Alphonsus Liguori says that he who prays is saved. He who does not pray is lost.

Added to prayer as a means of vigilance is daily word of God and Sacrament of Reconciliation. Since one may not be able to partake of the Sacrament of Reconciliation daily, the daily examination of conscience is a necessity. 1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 7 is a short Examen one can use every day.

To learn more about the Examination of Conscience, click the link below:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/09/a-good-examination-of-conscience.html

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Feast of St John Capistrano.

"You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time?" (Luke 12: 56).

Friday 23rd October 2020, 29th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St John Capistrano.  (1386 -1456). Italian Franciscan Priest. His charismatic preaching brought about great revival in the countries of Eastern Europe. John was one of the few clerics in history who led an army into battle. He did so to defend Europe against the menacing advances of the Turks.

Jesus implies in His blunt remarks to the crowd in our key Scripture from the Gospel of today that they should know how to interpret the signs of the times. It is easy to tell if there will be rain or snow. Is it easy to know with any certainty what the pandemics mean for us?
Why is it happening?
When will it end?
Are we going to survive it?
How many people will perish?
What shall we do to help ourselves?

All these are grave questions that impact the signs of the times. If Jesus says we know the answers to these questions, I believe Jesus knows what He is talking about. Where do we begin the search? His word. The Bible. The word of God contains all the mysteries and answers that relate to our life and salvation.
Jesus says that it is the gracious and mysterious will of the Father to reveal these mysteries to the childlike.

Two Scriptures may give us a clue:
#1 The Lord's Prayer: (Matthew 6: 9 - 13).
#2 SeekFirst (Matthew 6: 33 - 34).

If you want to learn more about the Lord's Prayer and how to use to discern the signs of the times, click the link below:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/10/meditation-on-our-father.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Meditation on Our Father

Meditation on:  OUR FATHER / THE LORD’S PRAYER:

#1.  I cannot say OUR, if my religion has no room for others and their needs.

#2.  I cannot say FATHER, if I do not demonstrate this relationship in daily living.

#3. I cannot say WHO IS IN HEAVEN, if all my interests and pursuits are in earthly things.

#4.  I cannot say HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME, if I, who is called by His name, am not holy. 

#5.  I cannot say YOUR KINGDOM COME, if I am unwilling to give up my own sovereignty and accept the righteous reign of God. 

#6.  I cannot say YOUR WILL BE DONE, if I am unwilling or resentful of having it in my life. [Embrace Your gracious and mysterious will in everything, always and everywhere.] 

#7.  I cannot say ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN, unless I am truly ready to give myself to His service here and now.  [SeekFirst the Kingdom: Matthew 6: 33]. 

#8.  I cannot say GIVE US TODAY OUR DAILY BREAD, without expending an honest effort for it or by ignoring the genuine needs of those around me. 

#9.  I cannot say FORGIVE ME MY SINS AS I FORGIVE THOSE THAT SIN AGAINST ME, if I continue to harbor a grudge against anyone. 

#10.  I cannot say LEAD ME NOT INTO TEMPTATION, if I deliberately choose to remain in a situation where I am likely to be tempted. 

#11.  I cannot say DELIVER US FROM EVIL, if I am not prepared to fight in the spiritual realm with the weapon of prayer. 

#12.  I cannot say YOURS IS THE KINGDOM, if I do not give the King the disciplined obedience of a royal subject. 

#13. I cannot say YOURS IS THE POWER, if I fear what my friends and neighbors might say, think, or do. 

#14.  I cannot say FOREVER, if I am too anxious about each day's affairs. 

#15.  I cannot say AMEN, unless I honestly say "Cost what it may, this is my prayer!" 

(Adapted from the OUR FATHER from Father Paul, OFM.) 

COLLECT PRAYER:

O God, from whom all good things come, grant that we, who call on you in our need,

may at your prompting discern what is right, and by your guidance do it.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

🙏🙏🙏

A letter to Proba by St Augustine: On the Lord's Prayer 

We need to use words so that we may remind ourselves to consider carefully what we are asking, not so that we may think we can instruct the Lord or prevail on him.

    Thus, when we say: Hallowed be your name, we are reminding ourselves to desire that his name, which in fact is always holy, should also be considered holy among men. I mean that it should not be held in contempt. But this is a help for men, not for God.

    And as for our saying: Your kingdom come, it will surely come whether we will it or not. But we are stirring up our desires for the kingdom so that it can come to us and we can deserve to reign there.

    When we say: Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are asking him to make us obedient so that his will may be done in us as it is done in heaven by his angels.

    When we say: Give us this day our daily bread, in saying this day we mean “in this world.” Here we ask for a sufficiency by specifying the most important part of it; that is, we use the word “bread” to stand for everything. Or else we are asking for the sacrament of the faithful, which is necessary in this world, not to gain temporal happiness but to gain the happiness that is everlasting.

    When we say: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, we are reminding ourselves of what we must ask and what we must do in order to be worthy in turn to receive.

    When we say: Lead us not into temptation, we are reminding ourselves to ask that his help may not depart from us; otherwise we could be seduced and consent to some temptation, or despair and yield to it.

    When we say: Deliver us from evil, we are reminding ourselves to reflect on the fact that we do not yet enjoy the state of blessedness in which we shall suffer no evil. This is the final petition contained in the Lord’s Prayer, and it has a wide application. In this petition the Christian can utter his cries of sorrow, in it he can shed his tears, and through it he can begin, continue and conclude his prayer, whatever the distress in which he finds himself. Yes, it was very appropriate that all these truths should be entrusted to us to remember in these very words.

    Whatever be the other words we may prefer to say (words which the one praying chooses so that his disposition may become clearer to himself or which he simply adopts so that his disposition may be intensified), we say nothing that is not contained in the Lord’s Prayer, provided of course we are praying in a correct and proper way. But if anyone says something which is incompatible with this prayer of the Gospel, he is praying in the flesh, even if he is not praying sinfully. And yet I do not know how this could be termed anything but sinful, since those who are born again through the Spirit ought to pray only in the Spirit.

🙏🙏🙏

A letter to Proba by St Augustine 2

Let us exercise our desire in prayer:

Why in our fear of not praying as we should, do we turn to so many things, to find what we should pray for? Why do we not say instead, in the words of the psalm: I have asked one thing from the Lord, this is what I will seek: to dwell in the Lord’s house all the days of my life, to see the graciousness of the Lord, and to visit his temple? There, the days do not come and go in succession, and the beginning of one day does not mean the end of another; all days are one, simultaneously and without end, and the life lived out in these days has itself no end.

    So that we might obtain this life of happiness, he who is true life itself taught us to pray, not in many words as though speaking longer could gain us a hearing. After all, we pray to one who, as the Lord himself tells us, knows what we need before we ask for it.

    Why he should ask us to pray, when he knows what we need before we ask him, may perplex us if we do not realise that our Lord and God does not want to know what we want (for he cannot fail to know it), but wants us rather to exercise our desire through our prayers, so that we may be able to receive what he is preparing to give us. His gift is very great indeed, but our capacity is too small and limited to receive it. That is why we are told: Enlarge your desires, do not bear the yoke with unbelievers.

    The deeper our faith, the stronger our hope, the greater our desire, the larger will be our capacity to receive that gift, which is very great indeed. No eye has seen it; it has no colour. No ear has heard it; it has no sound. It has not entered man’s heart; man’s heart must enter into it.

    In this faith, hope and love we pray always with unwearied desire. However, at set times and seasons we also pray to God in words, so that by these signs we may instruct ourselves and mark the progress we have made in our desire, and spur ourselves on to deepen it. The more fervent the desire, the more worthy will be its fruit. When the Apostle tells us: Pray without ceasing, he means this: Desire unceasingly that life of happiness which is nothing if not eternal, and ask it of him who alone is able to give it.

🙏🙏🙏

Responsory 1

℟. When you seek me, you shall find me – if you search with all your heart.* If you pray to me, I will listen to you.

℣. I know the plans I have in mind for you – plans for peace, not disaster, reserving a future full of hope for you.* If you pray to me, I will listen to you.

🙏🙏🙏

Responsory 2

℟. Ask and you will receive;* for everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

℣. The Lord is near to all who call upon him, who call upon him from their hearts;* for everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

SeekFirstcommunity.com